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Savvy Tips & Helpful Hints

Naturally Sweet: The Top 10 Natural Sweeteners

Do you want to reduce the amount of refined sugar in your diet? These 10 natural sweeteners will satisfy your sweet tooth without the nasty side-effects.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in a lot of processed foods. It’s especially “diet” options like diet soda, sugar-free ice cream, sugarless candy, and even yogurt.

But it’s also a nasty product that shouldn’t be in food. Aspartame has been linked to behavioral problems and cognitive problems. It can cause headaches, migraines, and even seizures.

This is just one of the many artificial and processed sweeteners that are contaminating your food.

So when you can, look for these natural sweeteners when you want a sweet treat for a healthy alternative.

Pure Cane Sugar

No one is going to tell you that eating pure cane sugar is good for you. But when you’re looking to see the kind of sweeteners that go into your food, it’s a good choice!

Traditional white table sugar is heavily processed. The sugar you eat is actually just a crystalized form of sucrose extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. Pure cane sugar will avoid this step. Instead of processing the sugar cane, it’s simply ground down.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a type of syrup that comes from the blue agave plant. However, you still have to process it to get it to a syrup consistency. You can’t just drink the fluid from the agave plant.

Fun fact: Tequila is made from the same plant—but agave nectar won’t get you drunk.

Local Raw Honey

Local raw honey is arguably the healthiest sugar alternative on the market—but it’s also pretty pricy generally.

The ancient Egyptians used honey as a preservative, and it’s a natural antibacterial. Honey and lemon tea is a great natural remedy for a sore throat.

Pure Maple Syrup

There’s more than one type of maple syrup. There’s the kind that comes in a bottle shaped like a bear or a lady, and that kind doesn’t count.

But if you get pure maple syrup, it’s an excellent natural sweetener. Make sure you do your research and get your maple syrup from a reputable brand.

Pure maple syrup is high in antioxidants and natural vitamins, and fewer calories than honey.

Fresh Fruit

Fruit has naturally occurring sugars, and you can use this to your advantage! Especially when you’re baking, use apple sauce or bananas as a sugar substitute. You can expect your dish to have a fruity taste, so make sure you use it appropriately.

But even when you’re just craving sugar, fruit is often sweet enough to satisfy, especially once you start to ease off processed sugary foods.

Stevia

Stevia is an extremely potent sweetener that’s naturally extracted from the Stevia plant. You can usually find it in small liquid squeeze bottles or as a powder near the sugar.

When you’re learning to bake with sugar-free alternatives, Stevia is generally a good pick as it reacts similarly to sugar.

Spices

Some spices like cinnamon or vanilla have sweet overtones, and you can use this to your advantage. Adding these spices to a dish makes it taste sweeter—without adding sugar.

Xylitol

Xylitol isn’t a natural sweetener, but it still deserves its place on this list. Xylitol is one of the artificial sweeteners that hasn’t been linked to cancer or brain damage.

And it’s an ingredient you’ll likely find in “healthier” sweet treats.

But beware. While xylitol is safe for humans, it’s extremely toxic to dogs. It’s even common in peanut butter so always check for xylitol before you treat your fur babies.

Molasses

Molasses is actually a byproduct of creating table sugar, but it’s a healthier byproduct. It generally has a lower sugar content, but still tastes sweet. On top of that, it has healthy nutrients like iron, selenium, copper, and calcium for strong bones.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is processed from the flower of the coconut plant. It’s a favorite from bakers because it’s a great sugar substitute.

However, coconut sugar is only fractionally better than refined sugar. It’s not as processed, and it has barely more nutrients. But that doesn’t make it “healthy.”

The Problem With Sugar

Especially in America, sugar is everywhere. It’s of course in sweet treats, but it’s also in frozen foods and even bread.

As people are becoming more aware of the “sugar demon” they’re looking to switch to “healthier” alternatives.

But the problem is these alternatives still have sugar. They’re healthier choices, but switching over won’t be a cure-all.

Instead, switch to a healthy diet where sugar is a sporadic treat, not a staple of your daily eating habits. You’ll be healthier, and you’ll be able to enjoy your sweet treat more.

Plus when you cut back on sugar, you can enjoy the natural sweetness found in fruits and vegetables that much more. You won’t need a dessert of an ice cream sundae. A parfait with extra berries will do the trick.

Natural Sweeteners are a Great Way to Cut Out Processed Sweeteners

Natural sweeteners give you a tasty treat without. But they cut out all the refined processed sugars common in artificial sweeteners.

But keep in mind that just because a sweetener is natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s natural. It’s a smarter choice than a refined option, but you should still work to limit your daily sugar intake. When you do opt for a sweet treat, choose something that sweetened with one of these natural choices.

Want more awesome tips to help you live a healthier, better life? Keep exploring for more!

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